Opinion

Some publicans still take the golf course approach

Though it’s much much less in evidence now, there was a time when publicans ‘laboured’ under the impression that pubs would run themselves.

As a result, golf clubs around the country did very well.

In retrospect the owners will admit that they took their eye off the ball (or had their eye on the wrong ball) during those ‘good’ years.

Well, the boom times came crashing down around them and many public houses found themselves part of the fallout.

As the trade reboots, a number of said owners find themselves back in their pubs doing what they should have been doing all along, being there for their customers and looking after business.

But ensuring an adequate level of staffing seems to be proving more and more expensive. True, many licensed premises have managed to do more with less, so to speak.

I was therefore intrigued, recently, to observe one owner/manager that certainly failed to add to cost savings at his premises.

To me the pub seems to be short-staffed regularly and what staff there are find themselves pushed to the pin of their collar in trying to keep customers served and satisfied.

Though present, the owner/manager did little more than bark out peremptory orders to his staff as they scurry back and forth.

Not once have I seen him ever roll up his sleeves and get stuck in.

He simply swans from table to table schmoozing with his customers briefly before gliding off to the next table.

Time to let a little air out of his ego there.

It’s equally plain to see that his (lack of) action is having a demoralising effect on his staff. For this owner/manager , the golf course approach mentioned above still seems perfectly feasible.

To his staff, he’s about as much use as an umbrella to a sheep.

Most of the licensed trade can see that life’s not like that any more. When costs have to be cut, it means everyone in the pub putting their shoulder to the wheel – and that includes the owner/manager.

Clearly this is not happening in this particular pub. With an increasingly frustrated staff and customer base, it won’t be long before he’ll have all the time he needs to spend on the fairway.

He just won’t have the club fees to enable him be a part of it.

Sign up for Drinks Industry Ireland

Get a free weekly update on Drinks Industry trade news, direct to your inbox. Sign up now, it's Free